Strategic pausing
Posted by aogTuesday, 24 March 2009 at 15:07 TrackBack Ping URL

Some clip from a President Obama speech was on the radio this morning and I was too tired to turn it off. As he droned on, I finally realized why I find his vocal style so grating — it’s the teleprompter. Obama doesn’t read a chunk of the text, internalize it, and then speak it. He just reads the text as it goes by so you get all these unnatural pauses based on the line breaking by the text layout code rather than those a human would insert. If Obama were replaced by an Japanese robot, who could tell? Except it would probably be more human sounding.

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Bret Tuesday, 24 March 2009 at 15:28

Don’t most politicians use teleprompters (at least part of the time)? They don’t all sound robotic, do they? So you’re saying that Obama is particularly bad at using a teleprompter? You’d think with all the practice he’s had, he’d be great by now!

Annoying Old Guy Tuesday, 24 March 2009 at 17:53

I think most politicians use teleprompters. The TOTUS uses Obama. I think in most cases, the politician basically knows and understands what he’s going to say and the teleprompter is more of a rail guide to keep him on track. With Obama, it’s like he’s never seen the text before and it’s not in a language he understands.

Listening to him is like trying to read a book while bouncing down a pot holed road. I have to constant re-synchronize to get around the bizarre pauses.

Scott Saturday, 28 March 2009 at 16:24

I think it would be cool to have a robot president. Though I guess it might be unconstitutional for it to be a Japanese robot.

Annoying Old Guy Sunday, 29 March 2009 at 11:07

That’s just because you think you’d be the programmer.

Hey Skipper Sunday, 29 March 2009 at 11:13

I haven’t actually watched any of these performances, so I can’t know for sure, but it is hard to see how it could be any worse than Bush’s inability to say more than four words in a row without pausing.

Annoying Old Guy Sunday, 29 March 2009 at 13:53

Bush, IMHO tended to pause at conceptual breaks, rather than apparently random ones, so it was much easier on me. I think it’s also telling that we are comparing someone alledgedly nearly peerless in oratorical skill to someone who is claimed to be one of the least articulate political leaders in recent American history. It’s not so much that I think Bush was a good speaker, but my astonishment that anyone thinks Obama is.

Gronker Sunday, 29 March 2009 at 18:56

Bush was painful to listen to because he was trying to triple thing everything he said. I think he was a bit overwhelmed with the idea that a misstatement by him could start a war or crash a market. It really put him off his game. Watch him with friends or a friendly crowd, totally different guy. He is a guy that comes into a room and owns it, something you wouldnt figure from the herky-jerky delivery of this thoughts in press conferences or one-on-one interviews with the enemy…err… press.

The really wild thing is that, when the man was in “I dont give a fuck, I have something to say mode”, he is an amazing speaker. The address to congress after 9/11, the state of the union that year, these were some really powerful and well delivered message. You wouldnt think it was the same guy. Took me a while to reconcile the two in my head. Its the audience and the message.

I think Bush has so much running around his head he could speak about, he tried to filter everything he said to the point of almost painful delivery.

Obama, just reads what they tell him to read.

erp Sunday, 29 March 2009 at 20:34

Thanks Gronker.

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